In 1904, the Beta Motorcycle Company was founded in Florence, Italy under the name Società Giuseppe Bianchi. Founders were Enzo Bianchi and Arrigo Tosi, who combined their initials to form the name "Beta," In the 1940's, the company switched from bicycle to motorcycle production. The first cycle was the Cervo 48, and then in 1948 the company produced the Cigno, a one cylinder, 48cc cycle. Beta entered the 125cc class in 1950 with the 125. Many on-road motorcycles were produced in the 50's: the MT 175, SV175, Astro 98, Mercurio 150, Folgore 175, and Orione 200 were just a few. All Beta models were equipped with a single cylinder, 4-stroke, pushrod engine. During the 50's and 60's, new models were built with a dedication to the world of competition. The 70's saw Beta specializing in off-road machines, in motocross, endure, and trials.
The Beta motorcycle manufacturing plant is located in RignanoSull'Arno, near Florence, Italy. It employs 111 people and has an annual production of 17,000 vehicles and 15,000 engines. For every 100 motorcycles that are built, 70 are sent to markets abroad, and 30 remain in Italy. Working through importers around the world, Beta has direct sales operations in Italy, Germany, France, and Benelux.
Currently, in the 2012 model year, Beta motorcycles have several models: the RR, RS, and Trial. The RR series are off-road models and come in 50, 350, 400, 450, and 498cc engines. The RS series is the street legal version and come in 350, 450, and 520cc engines. The Trial models include a Mini, two 80, a 125, 200, 250, 300cc engines, as well as a 250cc and a 300cc 4-stroke motorcycles.
The Beta models include updates to both RR and RS motorcycles. Overall changes include one new model and lineup changes, which includes the significantly awaited 350 RR. Beta is only the second manufacturer to offer such displacement. The RR models 350, 400, 450 and 498 MSRP are $8599, $8699, $8799, and $8899, respectively. Beta Motorcycle Company is using its own engine developed by another company. A major feature is that it uses a carburetor. The engines have redesigned cylinder heads. The cam chain tensioner, valve retainers, and a newly reinforced camshaft bridge have been altered to minimize engine noise. The engine cam chain gets higher oil volume and the revised drain plug simplifies oil changes. A stronger cam chain guide, updated counterbalance bearings and a new clutch primary gear and springs add durability and aid clutch action. The suspension got a major repair, with a replacement of the old Marzocchi fork suspension with a 48mm Sachs fork, which was developed exclusively for Beta. Each series of RR, RS, and the other off-road models have individual featured updates on the website.